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In leaked email to staff, Westpac's new interim CEO says he'll get to the bottom of the money laundering scandal

James Hennessy

The incoming acting boss of Westpac has sent an email to staff outlining his short-term plan for the beleaguered bank, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

Peter King, who stepped up following the resignation of Brian Hartzer from the top job, told Westpac's 33,000 staff it is "vitally important" to address the problems originally exposed by financial regulator AUSTRAC earlier this month.

The bank is accused of violating anti-money laundering legislation more than 23 million times, including allegedly facilitating child sexual exploitation in southeast Asia.

"I know it has been tough for everyone and the notion that any child has been hurt as a result of any failings by Westpac is deeply distressing," King writes in the email. "I'm truly sorry."

"We have two vitally important pieces of work ahead of us: to fix matters raised by AUSTRAC by delivering our response plan, and to deliver stability for Westpac, our shareholders, customers and you, our people."

King says the company has already made progress in executing its response plan, including shuttering LitePay, the payments platform allegedly used to make suspicious payments.

"The board and executive team are united to deliver our response plan with speed, diligence and transparency. We will get to the bottom of what has happened and ensure our systems are fit for purpose. This is just the start and there is much more to be done," Mr King wrote.

"I have always admired the integrity and determination of our people to do the right thing and support each other during challenging times, and it's a trait we will need more than ever in the weeks and months to come. I will make sure we get this right, and over time, together we will restore trust and confidence in our bank."

You can read the rest of what King told Westpac staff over at The Sydney Morning Herald.